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Lifting the Shroud of Secrecy: Correlations of Sexual Perversion in Pakistani Society

Submitted by on January 19, 2016 – 9:48 PM 4 Comments

psych-cover“For God’s sake, protect me from these beasts.” These were the words of a brutally injured 15 year old girl, Zunaira, from Faisalabad, Pakistan who was gang-raped and pushed into sex work later for years (Khan, 2014). A number of similar stories happen in Pakistan every day where we hear or witness people having unhealthy sexual practices with same and opposite genders, dead bodies and with animals etc.


For example, as a young boy I have witnessed people having sex with animals many times. According to Shaam (2008) there are places in Pakistan you can have sex with cows, sheep, donkeys, goats and dogs etc. for Rs. 20-50. Such stories always caught my attention and I wondered why it is so? The curiosity for an answer to this question compelled me to write this paper on correlations of sexual perversion in Pakistan.


The meaning of sexual depravity has shifted significantly in recent decades and the word “perversion” has been criticized for its non-exceptional meaning. For example, in some parts of the world homosexuality was considered as a sexually pervert act but it is no longer slandered as a deviated sexual pathology. “Homosexuality is a characteristic distinct from paraphilia” (Cantor, 2012).


Sexual perversion in DSM-IV was defined as, “recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors generally involving i) non-human objects, ii) the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner, or iii) children or other non-consenting persons that occur over a period of at least 6 months” (McManus, Hargreaves, Rainbow, & Alison, 2013). To avoid stigmatization, the impartial term “paraphilia” was taken from Greek language to infer sexual perversions. The aim of this paper is to explain the presence and prevalence of abnormal sexual deviations in Pakistan and how people manifest those behaviors in society.


There are various psychological perspectives which have explained the psychic build-up of sexual perversion. For example, in the most discussed psychoanalytic view Sigmund Freud explains that sexual depravity is the maintenance of childhood sexuality in grown-up life (Kehl, 2005). In his popular psycho-sexual theory, he explains that human being is innately sexual in nature. From the newly born child, who receives gratification by sucking milk from the breasts of his mother to the person at the end stage of his life, everyone possesses this very natural sexual behavior.


The sexual instincts start building on, at the time of puberty with the associated processes of accomplishing maturity, which is then revealed as the symptoms of strong attractions for the opposite sex (Freud, 1910). Usually, during these periods of libidinal association people get under-gratified or over-gratified. In either of these cases one has to face a persistent focus on the pleasure seeking energies of id, the fixation. The fixations in previous stages may come out more intensely in later stages. Sexual perversion can be seen as a regression to a previously fixated libido (Freud, 1910).


Besides Freud’s theory of regression in different libidinal stages there are a number of psycho-social factors in one’s surroundings that contribute to sexual perversion. Personally I believe that psycho-social factors have a greater impact on evoking sexual perversion along with the predispositions. Behaviorists suggest that paraphilia starts through a methodology of conditioning (Furedy, 2003). Perversion itself can rarely be analyzed.


It is manifested by the exhibition of harmful behaviors in the society. According to a research survey conducted by students of Government College University, Lahore on 113 patients of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, 81% Pakistani people had pervert sexual thoughts as an obsession. The form and content of the obsession were seemed to be influenced by social and religious backgrounds (Saleem & Mahmood, 2009).


In Pakistan sexual perversion manifests itself as incidents of rape, gang rape, incest, women trafficking, sexual assault, prostitution, watching pornography and many forms of violence against women. For example, in 2009 a total number of 8548 cases of violence against women were reported in Pakistan. A rare survey by Aurat Foundation and Violence against Women Watch Group (WAWWG) recorded 778 cases of rape/gang rape and 172 cases of sexual assault, which had a dramatic increase in year 2009 with 928 cases of rape/gang rape and 274 cases of sexual assault. The demographic details showed that these cases of perversion were exhibited as 786 in Punjab, 122 in Sindh, 7 in NWFP, 4 in Baluchistan and 9 in Islamabad (Aurat Foundation & WAWWG, 2010).


On 30th October 2011, it was on the news that some people including a graveyard caretaker were caught red handed in Karachi when they were having sex with dead bodies in a graveyard after digging up the bodies of recently died women (Pakistan Today, 2011). The most popular internet search engine Google claimed in a survey that among the top 10 countries that search sexually pervert material online, Pakistan falls on the top with 6 other Muslim countries in the top list (Morgan, 2010). The reason for the largest pornographic searches by Pakistan has some valid explanations.


Pakistan is a nation that is currently facing an identity crisis. Pakistani people are confused between choosing modernism or traditionalism. This state of identity confusion has spread the fundamentalist approaches into its citizens, which in turn has created many psychological deviations including sexual perversion.


Sexual perversion can range from mild to moderate to severe. It manifests itself in different types of disorders. For example, in fetishism, the object of sexual craving is either an inorganic item or a non genital piece of the human life structures.


The next in this list is Voyeurism, where secret survey of different people who are bare, undressing, or occupied with sexual movements is the primary method of sexual awakening. Pedophilia refers to the sexual arousal as a result of physical contact with pre pubertal children. Other types of sexual perversion include the compulsion to display genitals in public, sexual activity with blood relations, sex with dead bodies, dressing like the opposite gender, and deriving pleasure from inflicting pain to self or others (McManus et al., 2013).


Sexual depravity reflects a disappointment in individual and social coordination (Bennet, 1933). Numerous experts likewise accept that issues for sexual inclinations arise out of childhood encounters during critical periods in human development. As was discussed earlier, deviation from normal sexual behavior makes people pervert. There are various reasons which lead to these undesirable deviations.


The society that we live and grow in has a larger impact on who we are and who we will be. Pakistan, being an unfortunate nation regarding its deteriorated law and order situations has never settled enough to work on positive behavioral changes in their people via qualified societal institutions. Developed countries have developed institutions which teach norms and values beneficial for the society as a whole. Sexual perversion cannot be separated from this context of psycho-social learning.


The socio-cultural build up of the Pakistani society is influenced by the fundamental Islamic teachings where people (mostly women) need to follow specific attire. When fundamentalism clashes with modernity, an identity crisis comes out as a result. Western media (generally) and Indian media (specifically) is a source of strengthening this identity confusion in Pakistan. It cannot be claimed that they are doing it intentionally, but Pakistan has a huge viewership to these channels.


The ill effects of entertainment media have been promoting sexuality, blunt content, eroticism and vulgar language (Zia, 2007). Whatever they are showing is suitable to their context but the entertainment channels of these media groups have been another source of aggravating the sexual perversion in our people.  Kunkel et al (1999) observed that television plays a key role in engineering the sexual behavior of the children and adults.


Perverse behavior can be found both in males and females but being male carries a greater tendency to have perverse actions. The male reproductive organs and the psyche are in a sensible understanding; men perceive when they have been turned on, and to a great extent men are more sexually pervert (Kramer, 2009). In case of women, when they watch erotic videos and images of sexual activity they encounter quick vaginal engorgement.


Scenes of pleasure and intercourse increase women’s vaginal blood flow but this equal-opportunity arousal is more in brain and body than in mind. Measures of genital reaction cannot completely relate to the excitement women report. The desires of men are more focused (Kramer, 2009).


Sexual perversion cannot be eradicated at once because it is a state of mind. I recommend that there could be short term and long term methods for ending perversion. In short term we may not be able to end perversion but we can control the exhibition of harmful behaviours related to perversion like rape, incest, pedophilia, women trafficking etc. In my opinion, the solution lies in how we behave with our upcoming generations.


If we will treat the next generations in a mature and rational way, we can reduce the prevalence of this alarming issue. Comprehensive sexuality education can be an important factor towards the eradication of pervert behaviors. Awareness at individual and community levels for behavioral modification is what we can do as individuals.


Besides that, governments should formulate and impose laws which could prevent people from the harmful outcomes of perversion. The application of reinforcement and punishment modalities can benefit in modifying the behaviors of the sexually pervert individuals. Campaigns to discourage pervert acts could also work better.


Considering the role of media in aggravating the perverse thoughts, communities need to bring alternate media or make the present media better and healthy for the new generation. In Pakistan, curriculum at schools and other literature is also a source of creating and aggravating perversion so our society needs an alternate literature. All this will probably need a huge budget, so collectively countries with a high prevalence of sexual perversion can finance together for it. It is a fact that continuous conditioning can bring about a change in our behaviors.


As a final point, Pakistani society has been facing very serious consequences of its perverse thoughts and actions. The growing monster of aggressive sexual behaviors is leading our society towards an era of total darkness. The mis-portrayed rigidity of our cultural and religious values and the vulnerability for the negative cultural attacks via media is one of the major causes for aggravation of sexual perversion among our people. Sexual deviation comes on in later life, implying that the libido has been unable to attain normal sexual gratification (Freud, 1910). The psychological build-up, the gender and the role of media are some important factors causing and promoting perversion.


Sexual perversion has had its terrible consequences in Pakistan as rape, incest, human trafficking etc. The young generation is involved in harmful sexual behaviors. The rate of pornography searches is highest in Pakistan. We need to teach our new generations about age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education, so that they could cope up the developmental challenges easily. Government and private sector organizations can work mutually to formulate age & context appropriate curriculum and ensure its implementation together in order to bring about a radical change in behaviors of growing generations of Pakistan.


About the Author: Anayat Baig has recently graduated from Aga Khan University Shcool of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan, completing 4 years of BScN program. He is currently working as program coordinator at the communications component of Aahung -An NGO which has advocating reproductive health rights in Pakistan since the past 20 years. Anayat can  be reached at anayat.[email protected]

About this article: This article is competing for the JPMS International Medical Writing Contest 2015.

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  • Asad Seeyab

    nice bro that you have highlighted the core issues whuch need serious attention

  • Arshad Baig

    Wonderful Article. This is an excellent piece of writing that should raise lots of eyebrows and at the same time also give a conscious outlook to your serious readers to ponder upon.
    I really like the statistics you have given which is too alarming. It a sign or
    moral, ethical and societal bankruptcy which you rightly said the identity

  • Ahmad Yar Baig

    Keep up the work and create a positive awareness towards understanding of sexuality and its significance towards downfall of our society!

  • Shah Faisal Sadaat

    Anayat baig proud of you my brother..